The Department of Health (DOH) will open additional monoclonal antibody therapy sites after Gov. Ron DeSantis railed against the federal government for cutting Florida’s supply to the life-saving COVID-19 treatment.
Beginning Tuesday, the state Health Department will operate sites in Duval, Seminole, Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Florida secured 15,000 new doses of the antibody cocktail earlier this month after President Joe Biden’s administration reversed its decision to withhold the drug.
The sites will be open from 7 a.m. till 5 p.m. daily. The sites will open in Jacksonville, Altamonte Springs, Lake Worth, Sunrise and Miami.
“We’re working around the clock to keep up the momentum so Floridians have access to lifesaving monoclonal antibody therapies,” DOH tweeted Monday.
DeSantis previously announced his intent to open treatment sites in Central Florida, South Florida and beyond. However, the additional state-supported sites were contingent on Florida receiving the additional doses from the federal government. Florida received 15,000 of the expected 30,000 doses on Jan. 7.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services halted Regeneron’s and Eli Lilly’s monoclonal antibody therapy shipments in December amid the start of the omicron variant surge. The cut was because of concerns that some versions of the treatment weren’t as effective against the new dominant variant. However, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo has contended the delta variant still exists in Florida. Moreover, he and the Governor disagreed that monoclonal antibody cocktails weren’t effective anymore.
“It’s something that we actually have seen applied with omicron patients, and we have seen symptoms resolve,” DeSantis added. “It may not be as good as it was against delta, but we obviously want to have that here for patients to be able to do it.”
For Friday, the latest day with available data, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 49,339 new COVID-19 cases in Florida, with 5 million cases confirmed in the state throughout the pandemic. The state reported 409,977 new cases in the seven days leading up to Friday, nearly the same as the 409,897 cases reported in the prior seven days.
✨BIG NEWS: Tomorrow, five additional monoclonal antibody sites will open across the state✨
We're working around the clock to keep up the momentum so Floridians have access to lifesaving monoclonal antibody therapies.
— Florida Dept. of Health (@HealthyFla) January 17, 2022